Jump to content

Dilema in Gardening


Rhonda

Recommended Posts

I have a bit of a gardening issue and I would love suggestions from any keen gardening folks.

 

I have no problems with flowers, shrubs etc... My problem is that a few years ago my DH and I decided to have our irrigation system changed over to reclaimed water instead of city water.

 

I love to grow things such as herbs, veggies and fruit, I actually planted a four plants cinnamon basil, rosemary, thyme and feverfew to say I was excited about having them growing in my garden is a bit of an understatement I couldn't wait until they were well established. It didn't take too long but long enough for me. I was completely thrilled with the progress of my cinnamon basil it was about two foot high and the aroma was wonderful.

 

 

This is my dilema:

 

When I went to harvest some leaves from the c. basil bush my DH told that he hoped that I wasn't planning to use them for cooking; actually I was planning to dry the leaves to make either simmering potpourri or incense but I questioned him 'why' and he told me that having been watered with reclaimed/recycled water had made them useless for any form of comsumption.:confused:

 

My front and back gardens are both piped for reclaimed and water twice a week, there are few places that the water doesn't reach. I really want to be able to grow at least a few of my own. Presently I do not grow anything that can be consumed...

 

 

So I am now looking for suggestions and or answers... :help:

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ditto Aloe - why is the plant unusable becuase the water got on it? If you wild-harvest you have no idea how many animals may have "marked" that herb. And you can actually use human manure as, well, manure... ??

 

M

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where's the water being reclaimed/recycled from?

 

It is used water that is from the population's homes and businesses that goes to treatment plants to be cleaned of inpurities that will not hurt the eco system when they pump it out to sea. So I've been told.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Generally speaking, reclaimed water is "gray" ... from washing machines, dishwashers, the sink, shower, etc. Unless your system has filtration built in, it's not a good idea to eat anything watered from the top with that water. OTOH, if your irrigation system is the "seep" kind that waters at ground level, you're good to go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ditto Aloe - why is the plant unusable becuase the water got on it? If you wild-harvest you have no idea how many animals may have "marked" that herb. And you can actually use human manure as, well, manure... ??

 

M

 

 

The water has been cleaned enough of its impurities to make it safe for dumping it into the ocean or for non consumable vegetation but growing plant such as herbs, veggies and fruit become tainted by the constant watering that the impurities that are left in the water are not good for human consumption...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is used water that is from the population's homes and businesses that goes to treatment plants to be cleaned of inpurities that will not hurt the eco system when they pump it out to sea. So I've been told.

 

You and I were typing at the same time. I'd find out what "impurities" they're taking out and how. Frankly, I just don't trust governments with my health ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Generally speaking, reclaimed water is "gray" ... from washing machines, dishwashers, the sink, shower, etc. Unless your system has filtration built in, it's not a good idea to eat anything watered from the top with that water. OTOH, if your irrigation system is the "seep" kind that waters at ground level, you're good to go.

 

I think sewar water is also included...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You and I were typing at the same time. I'd find out what "impurities" they're taking out and how. Frankly, I just don't trust governments with my health ...

 

I completely agree with MW...:thumbsup:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a bit of a gardening issue and I would love suggestions from any keen gardening folks.

...

My front and back gardens are both piped for reclaimed and water twice a week, there are few places that the water doesn't reach. I really want to be able to grow at least a few of my own. Presently I do not grow anything that can be consumed...

 

 

So I am now looking for suggestions and or answers... :help:

 

 

I think I can help here. I live down here in Florida. Reclaimed water should not be used on your edible plants. It contains traces of sewer product, and also contains lots of other sediments. Furthermore, most cities in South Florida I know for sure, state not to drink the reclaimed water (sometimes also called well water down here). Even ground irrigation is not good for edible plants.

 

So, here are the two options I have which have been successful:

 

1. Use pots for your herbs, or cattle trough is even better because you can grow veggies in there as well. I think they are easier to take care of that way. For what you are looking to grow, this is an easy fix. And looks nice to boot. There are lots of free resources on Google about growing in containers. Also, I have a Better Homes & Gardens that has some great pics, and an article if you are into that. I can send take pictures and send it to you.

 

2. Re-construct your plant bed, with a sturdy bed liner, and also re-route your irrigation away from those plants. I have done this as well. This takes greater planning and more work.. and maintenance, but depending on the size of what you are doing, your goals, what look you are going for... could be a good choice.

 

This is based on my experience in South Florida.

 

Hope that helps a little.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even ground irrigation is not good for edible plants.

 

Aaval, not living in Florida, much less the southern part, I'll take your word for this but why wouldn't ground irrigation be good? Seems to me it'd be the same as putting down manure, ensuring you don't touch the aerial part of the plant with it. (Admittedly, human waste is much ickier than, say, cow or chicken manure but my stepfather's parents used to scoop out the outhouse & use that on their garden ...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aaval, not living in Florida, much less the southern part, I'll take your word for this but why wouldn't ground irrigation be good? Seems to me it'd be the same as putting down manure, ensuring you don't touch the aerial part of the plant with it. (Admittedly, human waste is much ickier than, say, cow or chicken manure but my stepfather's parents used to scoop out the outhouse & use that on their garden ...)

 

I have some friends who have a composting toilet, and they use the compost on their garden. Personally, I just can't get past the ick factor whether it's safe or not. *vomit* When I was a kid we used to fertilize our garden with horse manure and I never thought twice about that but human... gawd uggh

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read something a long time ago about the differences between types of manures. Old lady forgets but I think it has something to do with being a meat eater vs. vegetarian 'cuz not only are you not supposed to use human waste but no cats' or dogs' waste, either. That said, the step-grandparents (and their children & grandchildren) suffered no ill effects from eating food out of their garden. (Gads, I wish I could mimic my husband's head twitch in type when he says, "there's no-no-no-thing wrong with me"!)

 

I wouldn't have a problem using it if it had been "de-smelled" like the commercial manure you can buy that's been dried. I can't even get past the smell of fresh chicken manure and have mucked out enough stalls & stepped in enough cow patties in my life to not want to smell that again, too!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aaval, not living in Florida, much less the southern part, I'll take your word for this but why wouldn't ground irrigation be good? Seems to me it'd be the same as putting down manure, ensuring you don't touch the aerial part of the plant with it. (Admittedly, human waste is much ickier than, say, cow or chicken manure but my stepfather's parents used to scoop out the outhouse & use that on their garden ...)

 

I don't have a detailed reason why it is advised against, but, for example, Pinellas County (in Florida) states that:

 

"The degree of treatment required for the use of reclaimed water makes it unsuitable for the following purposes:

 

  • Consumption by humans.
  • Bathing, cooking or toilet flushing in residential dwellings.
  • Any interconnection with another water source.
  • Recreational use involving body contact (i.e. swimming pools or outdoor showers).
  • Irrigation of vegetables or other edible crops which are not peeled, cooked, or thermally processed before being consumed.
  • Run off into or filling of swimming pools."

So, I err on the side of caution. Originally, when I first started with gardening... I used ground irrigation with reclaimed water for edible items (that I had planned to be edible), as I had read, like you mentioned, it would be fine. But, luckily I did some research early on and that is why I mentioned that is is not good, even with ground irrigation. Reclaimed water comes from different sources in different areas, but in Pinellas County for example it is treated waste water.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All the more reason I love living in the country. I know my gray water. My garden sits right on top of the septic drain field so it's "irrigated" from below with everything that comes out of this house except the solids! (But yes, it does require top-down watering at times as the pipes are buried deeper than most roots except the trees'.)

 

I got to thinking about it after my querying post: if they say it's not safe for irrigating anything you're not planning on ... essentially ... cooking, I'd believe them. Given what folks in the city tend to flush that can't be treated (unused pills such as antibiotics come to mind) I don't think I'd want to use it for anything but the lawn & shrubbery!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All the more reason I love living in the country. I know my gray water. My garden sits right on top of the septic drain field so it's "irrigated" from below with everything that comes out of this house except the solids! (But yes, it does require top-down watering at times as the pipes are buried deeper than most roots except the trees'.)

 

I got to thinking about it after my querying post: if they say it's not safe for irrigating anything you're not planning on ... essentially ... cooking, I'd believe them. Given what folks in the city tend to flush that can't be treated (unused pills such as antibiotics come to mind) I don't think I'd want to use it for anything but the lawn & shrubbery!

 

Yep, and it's treated commercial sewer too. Honestly, I hate even drinking the tap water down here. Not because I think it contains the same things as the reclaimed water, but because it is SO treated to make it *safe* it tastes like chlorine. But, I digress. I am thoroughly jealous at times of country living. But, I do the best I can here. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Morning Aaval and Mountain Witch thank you for replying and you to Aloe. I do live in Pinellas County, FL and not being able to use freely the consumable plants after being cultivated with reclaimed water is very frustrating. I did notice a section in my back garden though that is not touched by the irrigation system and asked my DH to leave it that way or to at least let me know when he is going to turn on the system so that any project that I start I could at least cover it. He does not want any kind of permament greenhouse structure...

 

So I've got to come up with something that will be suitable for me. I'm trying to increase the amount of pots and planters I have but very little spare cash to spend on them... :wallbash:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[i'm trying to increase the amount of pots and planters I have but very little spare cash to spend on them...

 

Go to flea markets. No, not the ones in buildings, the ones that are nothing more than tables with or without a roof, or open car trunks, that you find alongside the road. You can buy stuff for literally pennies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Morning Aaval and Mountain Witch thank you for replying and you to Aloe. I do live in Pinellas County, FL and not being able to use freely the consumable plants after being cultivated with reclaimed water is very frustrating. I did notice a section in my back garden though that is not touched by the irrigation system and asked my DH to leave it that way or to at least let me know when he is going to turn on the system so that any project that I start I could at least cover it. He does not want any kind of permament greenhouse structure...

 

So I've got to come up with something that will be suitable for me. I'm trying to increase the amount of pots and planters I have but very little spare cash to spend on them... :wallbash:

 

Yea, budgeting can sometimes be tricky in a garden expansion. Big metal cattle troughs are often a good bet - sometimes you see them at feed stores.. because 1 can hold so much.. and are cheaper at feed stores than retail. As for pots, I find Ol time Pottery to be the cheapest.. not sure if they have them over by you, but worth a look. Just make sure you put down a good bed liner in your non-irrigated portion of the yard. :-)

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Add 2 cents if I may....

I have great well water here, but I also have 50 gal plastic drums for rain water collection. Perhaps a solution for you? Avoid the city water all together. They held soap....and I cleaned them really well anyway. I skimmed through the replies so if this was already mentioned my apologies. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Crystal beat me to it - rain water harvesting would be my suggestion too. Teamed with the earlier idea that Aaval said about repotting your herbs or building your plant bed so that they are away from the "tainted" water.

 

I don't know very much about reclaimed/recycled water. I do know a little about reed bed filtration and that it's good for filtering grey water, but I don't know how much more filtration it would do on top of what's already happening, or what contaminants it would remove specifically. ...Or is this the kind of system that's already in place?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cheap (free) planters - I new a lady in her late 80s early 90s and she grew all her own food. Very much on the poverty level. She collected things from the side of the road on bulk pick-up day. She had carrots growing out of an old toilet tank. A file cabinet full of herbs. A discarded chest of draws held a salad garden. Didn't look necessarily picturesque, but got the job done in a pinch. She also lit a joint whilst she was showing me around her yard and flashed me her boobs. Quite a character she was... really fun and fascinating woman, lol. I love people with character.

 

M

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rain water is GREAT! We have a 55-gal drum at the end of each downspout on the house and each has a spigot for a hosepipe. They fill up quickly - about 1" of rain will fill all four drums to overflowing. The design is somewhat flawed, though. They never completely drain as the spigot isn't on the very bottom of the drum.

 

There's a problem associated with standing water: mosquitoes. I've heard some say that if you're catching the water "in the open" rather than from the roof that putting window screen material over the top will suffice. Dunno about that - I've had mosquitoes get in the house (but that may be from opening doors). Given the issues with the West Nile virus, I'd rather be safe than sorry ... there are tablets you can buy at the hardware store that will kill mosquito eggs and larvae. Although I don't think I'd drink that water directly, it's perfectly safe to use for watering consumable plants (and rinsing your hair ...).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have recently been considering adding goldfish or mosquitofish to my barrels. My only worry is not enough larvae to feed them. The window screens work well doubled over....but I feel like I loose some rain in the build up and flow over during a hard rain. Mine are in the open though. I have also heard a thin film of veggie oil on the top works wonders and piped out water is not affected as the oil floats. Haven't done this yet though....I dunno. If I ever needed to drink the water (obviously filtered, boiled, ect) I still get hung up on it being a little gross. (I guess no nastier than fish poop though. Lol)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These things would be perfect to make the water safe to drink: Lifesaver Bottle They're not cheap though, but they last a very long time - they do bigger, tank sized containers too. My husband and I recently watched an invention programme that was talking about them and the demonstrator got feces, sewer water, mud, river water, etc etc and put it all in a tank of water, swished it to mix then filled up the lifesaver bottle. After a few "pumps" the water in the bottle was clear, no smell, and drinkable (he and the presenter drank it).

 

It's the only system to have a filter so small that it stop the most contaminants. Not sure how it would figure with a recycled water irrigation system but they may have a product that could work somehow? They'd definitely be able to work with rainwater harvesting systems though - there is a "filter tap" that they sell which would fit onto an outlet from the rainwater collector I think. That one isn't too expensive either.

 

Double check if it removes west nile virus though, as I'm not sure. I'd be surprised if it didn't though as the whole purpose is to make standing, contaminated water safe to drink.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...